Soon after Paul Kempinski assumed the role of president and CEO at Children's Mercy Kansas City in Missouri, he sought to build a leadership team that would be "greater than the sum of its individual parts." In doing so, he tapped leaders with a wide range of experiences and viewpoints with one key requirement—they'd be willing to share their opinions.
"I don't want to have bobbleheads on my team, meaning that ‘if Paul said it, therefore it must be correct,'" says Kempinski, M.S., FACHE. "We want to challenge one another—respectfully, role modeling our standards of behavior—but when we leverage the perspective and input that everyone brings to the table, we make better decisions and establish better vision and strategies going forward."
Kempinski adds this approach is also vital to implementing strategies, so the leadership team is in lockstep as ideas flow from the conference room to the front lines. "When you have a leadership team that is aligned, connected, authentic and communicating well, it's creating a culture that is going to drive you toward your aspirational goals," Kempinski says.
Collaboration is key to elevating entire organization
The concept goes beyond the leadership suite, according to Kempinski. He says his team recognized early on they had several centers across the hospital doing incredible work but were somewhat siloed and not maximizing the collaborative opportunities available in what he calls the invisible matrices of the organization.
"We're now integrating, aligning and leveraging all of these resources in ways we never had before toward measurable improvements," Kempinski says. "As we teach and engage our leaders in how to align and integrate—get those leaders, managers and front-line staff to work together—that is helping to create the whole that's greater than the sum of its individual parts."